Firebrand Marwat arrested from outside LHC

Published December 15, 2023
POLICE detain Mr Marwat outside LHC.—Murtaza Ali
POLICE detain Mr Marwat outside LHC.—Murtaza Ali

LAHORE: Firebrand PTI leader Advocate Sher Afzal Marwat was arres­ted on Thursday from outside the Lahore High Cou­rt (LHC), where he had arrived to join a protest.

According to police sou­rces, the arrest was made under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO), 1960.

Mr Marwat, one of the counsels for former prime minister Imran Khan, was catapulted into the spotli­g­­ht over the past few we­eks due to his fiery add­resses at the party’s public events.

The lawyer, who was recently made a senior vice president of the party, has been at the forefront at a time when the majority of the party’s core leadership is in hiding or has parted ways.

In a post on his official X (formerly Twitter) account early Thursday morning, Mr Marwat said he was in Lahore and wo­­u­ld attend the protest aga­inst the Supreme Court’s decision to allow military trials of those accused of violence on May 9.

Police say arrest made under 3MPO; PTI, lawyers’ bodies flay caretaker govt for ‘abetting’ lawlessness

LHCBA President Cha­udhry Ishtiaq A. Khan, se­­nior lawyers Aitzaz Ahsan, Sardar Latif Khosa, and Sher Ali Marwat also participated in the protest.

But as Mr Marwat was leaving the LHC with a horde of lawyers, policemen arrested him at GPO Chowk. The lawyers surrounding Mr Marwat tried to rush him back inside the court to foil the arrest bid, but failed.

Videos shared on social media also showed police officers accosting Mr Marwat and dragging him into a vehicle. He was then moved to an undisclosed location after the arrest.

A message, attributed to Mr Marwat’s team, shared later at night on his X account claimed he was being held at Kot Lakhpat prison in Lahore.

It was also claimed that the arrest had been made under Section 3 of the MPO. The provision emp­owers the police to detain a person considered “prejudicial to public safety or the maintenance of public order”.

“The legal team has started working for his release and will try [our] best that Mr Marwat be presented in court tomorrow,” the message stated.

‘Lawlessness’

PTI leaders and lawyers bodies have severely criticised the arrest.

While condemning the arrest, PTI said the action was an outcome of lawlessness in the country.

A statement shared on PTI’s official X account held the caretaker government responsible for “acting as a facilitator” during the “unabated lawlessness”.

The party also expres­sed concern over what it called the judiciary’s continuous silence on “criminal and illegal actions” being committed by the caretaker government.Several PTI leaders also condemned the arrest.

In a post on X, PTI leader Moonis Elahi questioned the charges under which Mr Marwat would be booked. “[Will you] lock him for stealing a buffalo or under 3 MPO,” quipped Mr Elahi.

“Condemn the arrest of Sher Afzal Marwat. What exactly is going on???” wrote PTI leader Taimur Khan Jhagra.

Babar Awan urged the LHC chief justice to take notice of the arrest and demanded Mr Marwat’s immediate release.

The Lahore High Court Bar (LHCBA) has also demanded Mr Marwat’s immediate release.

LHCBA Vice President Rabbiya Bajwa said Mr Marwat’s apprehension “at the gate of the LHC” proved there was no law in the country.

Published in Dawn, December 15th, 2023

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